Animal assisted counselling is the integration of an animal as an adjunct to traditional counseling. The animal works with the therapist within a specified treatment plan and interventions are designed with the specific person and specific animal in mind to achieve a particular therapeutic goal.
Here at Nourishing Hearts we offer a variety of counselling and therapy approaches. We believe there is no one "right" way for counselling to occur. There are over seven billion people in this world and therefore there are over seven billion perspectives. For this reason we are flexible in our approach in order to meet individual needs, comforts and interests. We flex with each session. Some may only want traditional in-office counselling, others may want the traditional counselling session to be held outside in nature, others may find it comforting to have animals present in their session. Then there some people who may find traditional counselling uncomfortable or intimidating and discover experiential therapy more beneficial. Nourishing Hearts meets people were they are at and tailors sessions to an individual's unique strengths while setting people up for success!
So what does this look like?
If you feel an experiential therapeutic environment will help you to relax and deepen your therapeutic experience, then we will create environments and activities that are built upon your needs, interests and strengths. Of course my traditional office is available for both partial and/or full therapy sessions but collaboratively we will work together to create the environment, setting and activities that best meet your needs and preferences.
Examples of Therapeutic Environments, Settings & Activities
This list can go on and on...it is up to you?
We meet you at your comfort and motivation to build on your strengths!
Wellness Care Farm
Traditional counseling approaches can help those who need to talk through issues, process experiences, and gain insight & understanding. Some people need to be heard, understood or simply experience the healing gift of being accepted as you are. Others want guidance, personal coaching and access to the knowledge of a trained professional.
Experiential therapy involves actions, movements, and activities rather than the more traditional “talk therapy". At Nourishing Hearts the experiential therapeutic approach encourages people to identify and address hidden or subconscious issues through activities such as farming activities, therapeutic gardening, animal care, expressive arts and a range of other active experiences.
While some people might find it easy to describe and talk about their past or current situation, and the hopes they have for the future, many people find it too hard to think about, remember or talk about those hidden hurts. After years of burying those thoughts, it can seem difficult, if not impossible, to bring them to the surface and expose them to the light. Some people find that experiential therapy helps make this process a bit easier.
Why experiential therapy?
The brain is a powerful recording instrument, capable of keeping track of the things you experience and the lessons you learn. But, there are times when the brain can be fooled into forgetting specific information. Memories are lost or buried, and lessons become harder to recall. Often, when this happens, the body seems to remember the things the brain has forgotten, and the body works hard to keep the brain from remembering the pain again. Therapists refer to this as “emotional avoidance” or “negative affect.” In essence, even though you may not have a direct memory of hurtful events, your body remembers and it tries to keep you away from being hurt once more. While this might seem helpful, on first glance, it can keep you trapped. Researchers suggest that teaching people how to control bodily cues, and reduce the avoidance techniques they had been using, could help people feel more in control of their lives and the environment around them. Therapy can help them find new ways to cope.
In a typical experiential therapy session, you’re asked to do something that has seemingly little or nothing to do with the counselling process at all. As you’re completing this seemingly unrelated task, a therapist is right beside you the entire time, asking you questions about what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Sometimes, you’ll feel more willing to open up because you don’t feel confronted. Other times, you’ll recover memories you thought you had lost, simply because your muscles, bones and the rest of your body are providing clues to the trauma your brain has been hiding.